In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important sloka wherein Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra the important attributes which a “Panditha” should avoid. These attributes are in turn the characteristic of a “Moodaathma” or a person who deviates from the path of “Dharma”. Vidura advises King Dhirdhiraashtra that he better mends his ways towards Dharma, before his entire clan of “Kauravas” is completely destroyed. However, King Dhirdhiraashtra is still reluctant to mend his ways, but we can mend our ways by heading to Vidura’s valuable advice! Let’s continue to witness what Vidura is going to say next!
Now, Vidura continues to talk about how a “Panditha” is a person who is also an epitome of “Bhakthi” or “Devotion”. I’ve started this discussion in the previous episode itself, and we shall take it forward today. Before we see what Vidura says on this, there is an important set of 7 steps discussed in the “Brahma-Soothra” (authored by the same Sage Veda Vyaasa) that would lead us to “Bhakthi”. In the modern day, all of us think that we’re experts in exhibiting “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan. Now let us check if we are really experts in “Bhakti”. If we are correctly following the steps that I’m going to discuss now, we are really on the right track. Else, let us try to follow these steps from today! 🙂
The seven steps are “Viveka”, “Vimoka”, “Abhyaasa”, “Kriya”, “Kalyaana”, “Anavasaadha” and “Anuddharsha”! If we are able to cross these seven steps successfully, we reach the stage called “Thallabdhihi”, wherein we can really become an epitome of Bhakti. This is exactly what Vidura is saying in this context also. Let us now discuss each of the seven steps in detail:
- “Viveka” – It can also be referred to as “Deha-Shuddhi”. This directly means “Cleanliness of our physical body, mind and heart”. Before we commence any divine task towards Bhagawan, we should always ensure that our physical body is clean. This is why we have the habit of taking bath before doing our regular prayers, or even before we cook something to offer it to Bhagawan. This is with respect to our external body cleanliness. The more important point is the internal cleanliness of our body – “Aahaara-Shuddhi”. This means having food items that would improve our “Sathva” Guna”. “Sathva Guna” is the one that is directly related to our patience, calmness, balance of mind, etc. “Rajo Guna” directly pertains to anger and “Thamo Guna” directly pertains to laziness. Thus, we should ensure that we consume food that would enhance our “Sathva Guna”, thereby reducing our “Rajo” and “Thamo” Gunas. For this, we should have a strict control on our diet. We should somehow make up our mind to avoid those food stuffs (predominantly non-vegetarian food items) that would directly increase our “Rajo Guna” (Anger) and “Thamo Guna” (Laziness). In the modern day, of course we are so time-stressed that we’ve almost stopped cooking at home. We’re depending on restaurants, fast food outlets for our food. However, many medical experts keep writing in blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc. that we should avoid certain food items for maintaining a good health, but still we do not exercise that advice given by them! Thus, we know that our food habits are going in the wrong direction but still we aren’t able to change our habits just because the whole world is going towards it! Moreover, our physical exercise has considerably reduced these days, owing to our urban lifestyle! Thus, from this episode, one of the important messages for all of us that, we should maintain our “Aahaara Shuddhi” properly for the enhancement of “Sathva Guna”. This “Sathva Guna” is extremely important for us to strive towards the path of “Bhakti”.
- “Vimoka” – This means, “Controlling our desires”. We need to understand that we should not keep more expectations and desires on something or someone. This is why we always say that we need to develop the important quality of “detachment” while undertaking any task. Lord Krishna also preaches this same thing through the Bhagwath Gita. If we start desiring for the end result, we would loose the “Shraddha” or “Perfection” in the process to attain that end-result. Rather, if we perform our duties with the utmost detachment, we would be able to give our 100% efforts into it. This is the second step towards “Bhakti” – Detaching ourselves from worldly pleasures and surrendering the fruits of our actions to Bhagawan. We might ask back as to how is this possible in the modern day, given innumerable challenges that we go through every passing day! Here is where our “will-power” comes! Will Power or “Vairaagya” is very important for us to sustain and stick to the path of detachment. I understand and agree that practicing detachment is extremely difficult in this modern day set up. However, we should realize that if we’re getting too much attached to something or someone, we are going to be pulled into a trap – Just like a fish gets into the net-trap of a fisherman! Let us think about it and introspect!
- “Abhyaasam” – If we try and learn something important, it is necessary to recollect it again and again (“Punah-punaha”) so that we remember and understand the significance of it. Right from our academic education till learning of Vedas, Upanishads or Bhagawath Gita, this is applicable. “Punah-punaha Abhyaasam” is extremely important for us to appreciate the significance of a concept or a teaching. Spiritually too, we need to recollect and perform “Abhyaasam” repeatedly to store Bhagawan’s image in our hearts! Why is it that we are chanting a “manthra” or a “sloka” 108 times, 1008 times, 100008 times, etc.? It is only when we repeatedly chant a “manthra”, will the intensity and the power increase for it! Also, if we repeatedly chant a “sloka” or a “manthra” as part of our regular prayers, we are indirectly increasing our memory capacity. Thus, “Abhyaasam” is extremely important for developing “Bhakti”.
So far, we’ve discussed three out of the seven steps that would lead us to the path of “Bhakti”. We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode to witness the remaining steps. Stay tuned! 🙂